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The Leopard's Prey: A Jade del Cameron Mystery [Hardcover]

Suzanne Middendorf Arruda
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £15.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library (6 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451225864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451225863
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.5 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,075,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Suzanne Arruda, a zoo keeper turned science teacher and writer, is the author of several biographies for young adults. An avid hiker and gardener, Suzanne lives in Kansas with her husband, and her cat, Wooly Bear.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars DNF - Never got off the ground 9 Jan 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First Sentence: I'll be fine.

Jade del Cameron is a single, independent woman. She's a photojournalist, helps wrangle wild animals, rides a motorcycle and is learning to fly. Sam, a wounded American war hero, wants to propose but isn't certain Jade is willing to forsake her independence for marriage. Sam is suspected is suspected of murdering a local merchant and it is up to Jade to prove him innocent.

The book started off well for me. The opening scene was exciting and suspenseful.

Jade is an interesting character, I had hoped she would remind me of Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher. Unfortunately not. However, I did like her reaction to finding a dead body.

However, I found I had very hard time getting into the story and the characters. The whole exchanging journals thing annoyed me, There are references to events from previous books but I don't mind them as they are adequately explained. There is a lot of exposition but nothing that pulls me into the plot. There is copious extraneous detail the strong sense of place I would expect for a book in this setting, is completely lacking.

I loved the chapter headings from the traveler, but that wasn't enough to save this book for me. Between not being able to feel any affinity for the characters, the plot plodding along and the very poor dialogue, I couldn't stay with it.

THE LEOPARD'S PREY (Hist Mys-Jade del Cameron-British East Africa-Golden Age) - DNF
Arruda, Suzanne - 4th in series
NAL Trade, 2009, US Paperback - ISBN: 0451227611
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventure and Romance in Kenya 5 Feb 2009
By Jeannie Mancini - Published on
Leopard's Prey by Suzanne Arruda

There is never a shortage of adventure in Suzanne Arruda's Jade Del Cameron mystery series. Set in colonial Africa in 1920, readers of this series can without a doubt always count on a lot of action, an intriguing background murder to puzzle out, and a genuine feeling of being right there in the time and place on the Kenyan plains.

The reader gets up close and personal with the exotic land of Africa at a time when wild animals ran free, and when native tribes such as the Maasai and Kikuyu had still not fallen into the hands of the white man. As you read, you will smell the hot arid African air, glimpse a sky full of twinkling stars come sundown, and will drive Safari style along a long dusty road in a jeep viewing herds of wild giraffe, buffalo, elephants or zebra.

The star of this delightful series, Jade Del Cameron, is a bit of a too independent rifle-toting, sarcastic spitfire, complete with her own motorcycle that she uses to take her pet cheetah name Biscuit out for a run. Within the four novels so far, one never knows what trouble or adventures she will encounter; anything from Big Game Hunting, outrages of Elephant Poaching, vacations to Morocco with her mother, kidnappings, murders, interactions with the local natives, or as in this new installment, soaring high in the sky with her love interest Sam Featherstone as he instructs her in flying lessons.

The reader always learns something new about Africa in the 1920's with each new installment of the series, and I can only say these stories are very enjoyable, delightful, and engaging. There is usually a sideline murder to solve but they almost seem to be irrelevant. The ongoing scenarios of the usual crowd of characters that appear in each story are what drive the books and allow the reader to get addicted to them. An additional fun feature, are the quotes that are inserted over each chapter head. Jade Del Cameron's way of making a living in Africa is being a professional reporter for a travel magazine called The Traveler. Quotes and paragraphs from her articles are placed in the front of each chapter allowing the reader to also get firsthand information on what is happening locally. In Leopard's Prey, wonderful Maasai myth and culture tidbits appear.

If you enjoy a light and easy simple mystery series with quaint characters that you can rely on to always make you smile, this series will not disappoint. Murder, romance, adventure, action, exotic locale....what more do you need for a few hours of sheer entertainment? Leopard's Prey, the fourth book in the series still holds steady to show us the author is still going strong and has not relented in giving us the goods. I highly recommend this book as well as the previous three in the set, and I eagerly await book five which should hopefully gives us some answers to the cliff hanger Arruda left us with on the last page.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coffee Plantation Mystery 13 Nov 2009
By Kara J. Jorges - Published on
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Young, fearless Jade del Cameron is back in her fourth African adventure. Last time, Jade had traveled to Morocco to meet her mother, but this time she returns to all her friends in Nairobi, British East Africa, now Kenya. Coffee farmers Neville and Madeline Thompson are going about their business when they find a body in their newly-purchased coffee dryer. Jade, who's been earning extra cash helping an outfit trap wild animals for a zoo, gets on the case immediately when her special friend, Sam Featherstone, is named as a suspect. Then, when Sam is hospitalized and Jade nearly crashes his plane because of sabotage, she decides to get to the bottom of the murder before Sam becomes the next victim. She investigates the owners of the local mercantile, other colonists, and befriends a few more natives in her quest for the truth, but before it's over, she almost winds up food for a leopard more than once.

The characters in this series are charming, the location is exotic, and Jade is a wonderful heroine. The mystery was decent, too, but this book dragged a bit in the middle, prolonging the growth of Jade's relationship with Sam. It seemed as if there were more scenes of Jade and Sam just missing each other than of actually advancing the story or getting closer to finding the murderer. As usual, though, the location was described in loving detail, as well as the lifestyle lived by African colonists almost 100 years ago. This book was further flavored by descriptions of a changing Africa, as it becomes more settled and also restless while more and more Europeans moved there. Though Jade's stalling relationship with Sam chafes a bit, all around, it's a very decent mystery from a familiar cast of wonderful characters. This a great series that I recommend. Jade is one of my favorite heroines.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This series just gets better and better! 4 Sep 2009
By Cathy G. Cole - Published on
Jade del Cameron is working for an American outfit that's capturing wild animals to take them to zoos in the United States. Shortly after acting as leopard bait, Jade finds the body of a local merchant on a coffee plantation owned by two of her friends. The chief suspect is the man in love with Jade-- Sam Featherstone, an American pilot and filmmaker. Dissatisfied with the way the investigation is going, Jade begins to look into things and discovers that the dead man had his fingers in the sort of pies that would make other people very angry. All Jade has to do is narrow down the list of real suspects. Of course she can never seem to do this without stirring up a bit of trouble: "Can we not leave you alone for a minute, Jade, without your getting kidnapped or involved in something unseemly?" asked Beverly.

In a review of an earlier book in this series, I called Arruda's books my "Saturday matinee reading". The primary reason for this being one of my favorite series has always been escapism. Jade grew up on a ranch in New Mexico. She knows how to ride and how to shoot and how to pitch a tent. She's a former World War I nurse who learned how to take care of her ambulance while shells were bursting all around and wounded men were screaming for help. Now she's in Kenya as a photojournalist, and she's learning to fly. She goes out into the country for a ride on her motorcycle in order to give her cheetah, Biscuit, some quality exercise. Although I have to admit that the idea of going for a run out in the country with my cheetah definitely has its allure, this series is growing into something more.

The "more" is how Arruda shows Kenya and the rest of Africa changing. Populations are exploding in the cities, and as the cities grow out, the wildlife is being chased further and further away. Arruda also begins showing readers the native Kikuyus' unrest as they are required to carry identity papers and travel documents at all times as well as pay the dreaded hut tax. The longer Jade stays in Africa, the more she learns about the people and the land, and we learn right along with her. This time, we learn about the Maasai when Jade crash lands in a plane. Arruda includes several tidbits of Maasai wisdom and folklore in the book, such as the following:

"So you hunt for animals for the white men to take, you hunt for a killer, and you hunt for his wife," Tajewo shook his head. "It is not good to do too much at once. We have a saying. A man cannot walk on two different paths at the same time. It will crack his buttocks."

I like the path these books are taking, away from strictly escapist fare and into a truer depiction of the area and the time. Murder, wildlife, colonial Africa, native customs, and a budding romance-- all this and more is to be found in The Leopard's Prey. The next book in the series, Treasure of the Golden Cheetah, is available starting today. It won't be long until I have my hands on a copy!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting, fast-paced mystery highly recommended 14 Mar 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Suzanne Arruda's fourth mystery has Jade Del Cameron working for a zoological company in Nairobi, working to save a pair of leopards slated for execution. When bodies are found, Jade also finds herself working to clear her friend of murder charges - and finds herself piloting a plane and landing in African wilderness to face a brutal killer. THE LEOPARD'S PREY is a riveting, fast-paced mystery highly recommended for any mystery collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this engrossing murder mystery!! 8 Aug 2009
By Josie Jean - Published on
Suzanne Arruda has brilliantly created a spellbinding tale of adventure and murder set in 1920's colonial East Africa. It chronicles the engaging adventures of photojournalist/animal rescuer Jade del Cameron in and around Nairobi, Kenya. When a local storekeeper is found dead and her filmmaker boyfriend is named as the lead suspect, Jade ardently investigates all suspicious clues. What follows is a suspenseful story fraught with danger, sabotage and intrigue. Ms. Arruda does a magnificent job crafting a delectable cast of fascinating characters. She beautifully describes the majesty of the exotic Kenyan countryside, with its herds of wild animals and breathtaking scenery. Adding to the ambiance of the storyline are tiny glimpses into the cultures of the native warriors and the problem of civilized society displacing the wild animals' habitat. I absolutely loved this captivating mystery! Once I picked it up, I was not able to put it down! I was thoroughly entertained and therefore, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book.
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